tv Richard Nixon CSPAN September 2, 2017 6:45pm-7:36pm EDT
just finished up david mccullough's the american spirit. both authors use on privately everything we covered today we are going to re-air the entire day beginning at made night eastern time which is 9:00 p.m. on the west coast so with all re-airing plus since it's a three-day holiday weekend but tv is on for three days. we will re-air the entire festival 8:30 a.m. on monday, labor day. that's what's coming up. we have got one more author speaking tonight so we are going to go back up to the history of biography room at the convention center and this is going to be john aloysius farrell talking about richard nixon, but tvs live coverage. [inaudible conversations] will.
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> good evening and welcome to the main event the last program of the evening here in the ballroom. my name is ron and i am an editor correspondent broadcaster at npr and also -- thank you and a full-time faculty member at american university school of public affairs. it is my very great pleasure to be here this evening with john aloysius farrell, jack farrell to his friends and he has written his third book. his first was called clarence darrow attorney for the. i think you should buy that book just for the title. the second book was called tip
o'neill and the democratic century and then turn to richard nixon -- "richard nixon," the life. >> he is such a popular character. >> jack because of that trajectory i have to ask what made you turn to nixon? >> i was drawn to his story. the original subtitle to the book was richard nixon an american tragedy and i was struck as they did the research that people like henry kissinger and elliott richardson would write in their diaries or talk on the phone with each other and as watergate was collapsing around him they would say this is really like a classic greek tragic -- greek tragedy. someone who has so many gifts and get this amazing tragic flaw which ended up ringing him down
and quite a shakespearean manner. he was always whispering in his own year, you were not good enough. they hate you, they are against me and in the end it destroyed him and he had that one final moment of recognition. some of you may remember on the last day he was in the white house when he addressed a staff and family in the east room and he said, remember who others may hate you but if you hate them then you destroy yourself. a wonderful moment of self recognition when he sees the tragedy has brought him down in just the way that he feared the most and that's what got him. >> i was struck later comparison to his own or fellow. i don't believe that linus in the book. i had looked for it in the book and i don't believe i found it. is that something you had
thought that since writing the book? >> actually when you write a puzzle for a book you sort of try to come up with an when i wrote the proposal for double date that was in the proposal. i didn't use it up but i probably should have because when i went back on the path to write came across that one. it's a pretty good line and i have used it but if you remember the play off fellow was this great general and diablo was his lieutenant who was very jealous of him and started whispering in his year, diog opuses paranoia in off fellow and in and i follow and set killing his wife because diablo was so good at doing that. nixon will always have this susceptibility of telling himself over and over again and
not good enough in one of the most heartrending examples is when it comes that from china and is accomplished everything you wanted to do in his life. he has become president from about works of california to become president of the united states. wants to be a great man and there's this opportunity in the cold war to drive a wedge between red china and the soviet union to bring china into the family of nations talking about how this new century was going to be a century of an information age. richard nixon in 1965, an information age dominated to computers and the old communist monolithic societies would not be able to compete but the nimbleness of science that is going to be needed in the 21st century so he sees this happening as he is president.
he goes to china. he makes this amazing breakthrough and he comes back and he's is talking to henry kissinger on one of the infamous white house tapes and diablo starts to whisper and he says you know henry the american people are a bunch of. they watch me on television with all that hand shaking and stuff in china and you and i know it really doesn't mean a thing. this is richard nixon not really being cynical about the american people that badmouthing himself because he has such a sense of inferiority. i should have used in the book. >> you mentioned on the foreigner. foreign affairs page in 1965 when he seemed to have an enormous amount of sophistication about asia and you point out in the pokey toward asia as vice president and he learned a great deal in the press. he seemed to have really taken that on both too through much of the rest of his life. one of the things about the book that got attention since it came
out was you broke bit of news that had to do with the asian land war that everyone knew we shouldn't try to fight richard nixon's round of fighting when he became president in vietnam of course and the news that you broke had to do with a person named and national -- anna who was sent on a mission by if you vote for nixon white house and waiting before he was elected president by the nominee of the republican party. what was that all about? >> it will be 50 years next year and nixon who was running in 1960, an amazing year of turbulence. both kennedy and martin luther king were assassinated and you had mccarthy challenging -- and writes at the democratic convention in the midst of all this richard nixon builds a
pretty formidable lead by september of 1968 over his democratic opponent hubert humphrey because lyndon johnson the sitting president has announced he's not going to run for re-election because of vietnam. all of a sudden the democratic party, democratic voters start coming home in the fall of 1968. the blue-collar union workers leave george wallace who is running as a third-party candidate and they start rowing back to the democratic party. eugene mccarthy antiwar folks started for giving humphrey because he does a little bit of a tiptoe towards a split without p.j. on vietnam will and the beginning of september richard nixon had this young guy who was a vote counter will and his name was alan greenspan. >> a good counter. >> alan greenspan sent some a
memo and says he will be lucky if he wants a single state. been then lyndon johnson called nixon and then says we are seeing some progress on vietnam. i may institute a bombing. richard nixon was a false 1960 election because kennedy stole it from him and it seemed johnson in 1966 to an october surprise in the congressional election by announcing he was closer to peace in vietnam. for nixon paranoia kicks and and he sees these forces lined up against him ready to steal something from him once again and he uses this connection and a woman named anne nasha noho was the very well-known woman because her husband had led the flying tigers in the battle against the japanese in world
war ii and he sends her to the south vietnamese to tell them that if they just hold on a little bit longer he will be elected and he will get a better deal. rather than go to paris and join in the peace talks which nixon thinks is a charade the south vietnamese risk don't join in the peace talks. this is pretty much unknown story because some point that fall went in johnson got wind of it and he sent the fbi as to top top -- the tapes, to tap the republican who envoy and the. and the presidential powers in saigon so johnson is getting all this information and he gets on
the phone and call the republican senators like edward dirksen and he said i'm leaving and this is darn near treason. will he confronts nixon and nixon denies it but it has actually happened and the great tragedy in this story is that there really was a piece deal and the soviets said if he would do a bombing hault became promised there will be productive talks. we will get the north vietnamese to the table so when nixon saw this dirty trick johnson actually believed it was a chance to end the war but nixon intercedes and the south vietnamese pullback and the peace talks don't happen. nixon is selected in one of the closest elections in american history. 43% of the vote. with only 43% of the vote. the story came out over the years the nixon eyes deny the
pretty v. back to watch the famous cross nixon interviews david frost asked them specifically did you send her to talk to the south vietnamese and he says no, i would never do something like that. the last big piece of the puzzle in the peace that confronts and lyndon johnson in 1968 was whether richard nixon had been directly involved and as i'm going through this vast amount of material released in the last 20 years of the nixon library in yorba linda there are handwritten notes by nixon chief of staff a man named h.r. haldeman and he's writing down what nixon was telling him and nixon is saying keep anna chennault working on the campaign. anyway we can monkey wrench, throw a monkey wrench into the years and stop him.
that was my little contribution to history. history sometimes is like a rainy day like today. you are the teach-in there's a jigsaw puzzle because there's nothing else to do and you put the puzzle pieces together and that the sun comes out and you go away but your brother-in-law comes up behind you and he starts putting the pieces of the puzzle together and eventually the puzzle gets assembled. that was my piece of the puzzle and i was glad to contribute it. >> in the crucial piece that was put one of the things that strikes me about your book in his struck the viewers as well has been extraordinary way you manage to remain dispassionate and yet have an edge on the seat involvement of what's going on. you did not live all of this history but. >> sadly i live some of it. >> many of us have lived much of it and our generation, i read the book feeling as though i was reliving my life. did you feel that way at all when you're going back?
did you feel personally involved in the larger events if not the specific events of richard nixon's life? >> i was in college during watergate so i wasn't in college at the time of the great yet non-protest and get nixon was a bad guy for people from my generation. this so when i started to go into his life i approached it as a biographer which is telling myself i'll write you have to be objective, you have to be fair. you have to look at this guy dispassionately and see from this point of view. what i found as i looked into nixon's life was my sympathy and my empathy for him really even as i was finding things out about watergate or about vietnam which i thought was a portly physical act i was looking at where he came from and what he had to do to get to where he was
he was born in the california outback as i said. his father was a blowhard who managed to be someone who could fail to grow lemons in orange county which is one of the most bountiful citrus belts in the world than he took it out on his son. he had five sons and two of them died. his baby brother arthur died in a week shocking the family of meningitis and his older brother harold, the golden boy of the family contracted tuberculosis and died over period of six years and wasted the family's finances. ..
polish and prepare it and go back to school and he did this while trying to maintain a lot of extra can you -- extra curricular activities, he did this all this in garden staid -- side of this town looked down on him because of his family situation. always had the resentment but at the same time amazing drive and resilience. anything to admire is resilience. ability to pick himself up and even after watergate to mount a semisuccessful comeback, public relations wise until he appears on the cover of newsweek magazine with a big headline,
he's back. >> he won the electoral college because it was a three-way vote with george wallace and then he is president, but we get changes in the way and start to view the war aggressively and people step back a little bit, college campuses get a little cooler, not so much after the cambodia invasion, in general he deescalated and moved us towards american withdrawal which eventually would happen but he also did specially in the first term which stand to surprise people who don't remember those years. i'm going refer to a few, expanded social security benefits, the epa act that he signed, osha, safety and occupational health administration.
title 9 for women athletes, he had a health care proposal. >> very close to what we see a obamacare. his administration pioneered the idea that we should rather than go to a single-payer system, canadian or european-type system, we should tell insurance companies, tell the american companies, everybody has to have insurance, keep the private insurance praim -- framework, nixon's principle to have, make it mandate for every employer to provide insurance where as obama's mandate was that all of us have to buy insurance if our employer isn't doing it. ted kennedy told me before he
died, nixon offered it twice and each of two terms, specially in 1973 when he was desperate for domestic support and offered it but the democrats looked at him and they said, you know what, he's still weak, we are going to get him out and a new president, we will get medicare for all, single-payer and turned out to be jimmy carter, conservative from georgia, carter had promised balanced budget and instead of getting national health care, you had a huge fight break out between ted kennedy and jimmy carter, challenges jimmy carter in primaries in 1980 and ronald reagan is elected and held in new conservative era. ted kennedy knew he had missed his chance in 1973 but not taking richard nixon's proposal. >> nixon managed to accomplish that would by today's life
postregan era would count as liberal programs, provisions of new rights, positions of new programs and benefits for people, did he get any kind of satisfaction from that part of his legacy? did he have any joy in it? >> two things, he had been part of the world war ii generation, the generation had seen two great crisis and seen how muscular government can fix problem. it have not in era where clinton said it's over, to nixon and dwight eisenhower which nixon served as vice president, there was nothing to be ashame offed, if we needed national defense to build highways across the
country connecting state capital, we would just do it. that was the day that dwight eisenhower thought. when he had to invade and bring down hitler, do we need 5,000 ships, let's get 10,000 ships. that was their thinking. there was really no feeling that government was this great evil force in our lives in those days, world war ii generation, nixon himself had certain things in the domestic side that he realized that he needed to do for the public. the environment is a prime example, he's elected elected in and three days later we have the biggest oil spill in the country up to that time in santa barbara california and nixon flies out there and this is just as the environmental movement is kicking off and nixon has two choices, he can either go along
with it or can resist it and he sees vastly popular, he has sort of a gut feeling that california is a beautiful place and we should keep it that way and so you get this tide of environmental measures. it's in the book that at one point the major environmental organizations were polled and were asked who was the best green president and teddy roosevelt came in first, nixon came in second. so it's really a formidable record. as you read the book, you'll see that nixon was the one who brought about the polar daición of america on racial matters, so-called southern strategy. in the nixon administration was more desegregation of southern schools than in the johnson administration, eisenhower and
kennedy administrations. his administration quietly desegregated the southern schools to the point where polls of southern black voters in the 1970's gave nixon like a 53 to 47 plurality it was appreciated. nixon didn't want to rest of the country to know about it because he had been so successful with the southern strategy. at the same time that he's quietly doing that he's appointing people like hainsworth to the supreme court, borderline if not outright racist and when they were defeated by congress making stands that he was the only one who understood the south, he was doing one -- doing the right thing quietly. not wanting to let the south that he was doing it, he would take the outrageous steps to
make it look like he was against busing, he knew that there was this feeling of resentment that people had in the late 1960's that white-middle voters, his great silent majority and that he could tap it by telling them that while the minorities they want to leap ahead of you in line, they don't want to do the hard work that you did and he played that very successfully and really introduced that strain into american political life and it's still with us today. >> you know, morbid fascination that richard nixon had with the media and to some degree comes to fruition with some of the things he did in the watergate larger conspiracy, you don't really start focusing on or using that term, and maybe some
people would be disappointed in that but in another sense, you are actually explaining watergate almost from the very beginning, you're talking about what it was in richard nixon that led him to relationship with the media and ultimately to watergate. talk a little bit about early relationships with the media in orange county, and los angeles times of 1940's and 60's. >> donald trump and richard nixon are so antipress because both of them were really creations of the press and in nixon's case, southern california the los angeles times was the great elephant in the room, really hard-line conservative newspaper and promoted him in 1950 senate race when he ran against congressman hellen.
>> the ping lady. he did not call her that. >> she was first in line by democratic opponent in the primary. when you think about nixon going in as a writer, you think about 1950 race and you say, horrible demagoguery, he called her the pink lady. it was horrible demagoguery but the last days to have election he was accusing her of being treasonous and embracing red china who had come across the border and joined the korean war. >> started during that campaign. >> started during the campaign. but -- >> well, we were talking about his relationship. >> oh, yeah, the los angeles times. >> same thing with donald trump, i grew up on long island, i spent a lot of time talking to political reporter and reading the new york post and seeing donald trump grow by
manipulating the tabloid atmosphere in new york city and during the campaign he was such a feature on the evening cable news as it is a great irony that both nixon and trump both identify the press as the enemy or the enemy of the people. >> parallels that i hope you made, when richard nixon came in east, he discovered a very different attitude in the media towards his career. >> yeah, definitely. he took down a series of liberal icons and there's no -- it is unavoidable that strong elements of the eastern press were liberal. in nixon's case in 1950's, many of them were liberal republicans, but when he went after warren and took down harry
truman's state department, defeated in first campaign and hellen douglas, he was putting skins up on the wall that really marked him as a young conservative aggressive comer when he got to washington and the press, indeed, did several had job on it. the great breaker picked him as a target. cartoonist for the washington post in particular would write, would do the cartoons to the point where nixon couldn't stand his daughters to read the morning paper so he canceled the washington post and got it at the office. there was an element definitely that took that native paranoia and extended it in washington. it was there from the beginning.
the first campaign and another little piece of the jigsaw puzzle. nixon would love to make lit, yellow legal pad all the way through presidency and write out thoughts on yellow legal pads. one of these i found, one of the first ones when he came back from the war and running for congress, complete unknown, there one of the things to do, go to the rotary meetings, stoply the local newspaper and buy an ad, set up a voter organization in such and such neighborhood, put spies in the camp, there was something there from the very beginning that eventually grew and flourished and erupted in watergate but all along he definitely had opposition from the liberal press that egged him on. >> and he always believed perhaps of the early experience
that he had with individual publishers, editorialists that every newspaper decided whether they were with you or against you or in terms of how they carried news. >> he runs against the most charismatic candidate at the time jack kennedy who was a press and who was a reporter, could relate with the press and there is absolutely no doubt in history that the 1960 press corps, were sided with kennedy. editorial endorsement and nixon was -- who had used television so masterfully in the famous checker speech was betrayed by performance in debate, so it was -- there were balancing factors in the media but definitely the campaign reporters that he dealt
with every day were very much prokennedy and was really no doubt in history that the reinforced his idea that reporters were -- were at least ideologically on the tape. >> now, i want to give you all an opportunity to ask questions, so i will ask you one more as people come forward and you can line up here in the microphones if you want to ask a question. let me ask you, the name of donald trump has come up and it's difficult to not draw par lils between the characters, other people have done so, the character of richard nixon and the character of donald trump, the media element is an obvious one. what else do you draw as a biographer and reporter, what else do you draw as lessons from this period when we come to our own era?
blown money that they had been given and their bosses and mitchell and others saying, where is the fruits of what we are spending money on and so they panicked and they, incredibly stupid things throughout the whole episode but dean is right in that regard. >> he also said that the motive of breaking in into the headquarters was to see if mcgovern people had come across some of the information about the elsburg psychiatrist.
>> there were many motives, they basically wanted anything and everything. watergate happen because so and so wanted this particular of paper. there were lots of things they were looking for. >> thank you for your question. >> i guess some of the strangest moments from the strange presidency was in 1970 after the bombing of cambodia and he has this weird press conference and he's staying up all night calling 50 different people and he decides to go to the lincoln memorial and talk face to face with a bunch of student protestors. and i think it was in the oliver tomb stone. i was wondering, what did you take from that, what was he looking for in that encounter? >> i think the key to that encounter happened after he leaves the lincoln memorial and goes up to the capitol, he tries
to get into the senate, he goes to house of representatives and he's brought his ballet, the purpose is to show washington at night and so he has -- nixon sits in chairs below. as they are walking out there's a cleaning lady and comes over and she's carry -- she asked him to sign the bible and notices and read your bible and you'll be a saint. my mother was a saint. nixon's mother throughout his life was conscious.
and throughout -- make sort of the psychological argument and very concerned about the fact that she would not approve of him expanding the war in the way that he did into cambodia and the death of the four students at penn state would be something that he would really object to, she was expressing not only tensions but some small bit of shame. that's the least away i interpret. >> let's see if we can get a couple more. >> perhaps it would have been better if richard nixon never would become president, but never that he did, i've always believed that nixon for the republican party in the country if he had won in 1960 rather
than 1968, is that a sent that you share or -- sentiment you share. >> he always represented sort of the center and if he had gotten elected in 1960, i don't know how he would have handled cuba. it's awful hard to play those hands out in retrospect. he would have supported the bay of pigs invasion. he always claimed that he would never had let it go on like kennedy did. full-scale invasion the way iceland invaded normandy. you still might have had the missiles of october but might have been the missiles of april of 1967 if this provoked a super
power confrontation. he definitely was a calmer man in 1960, not a great candidate. lost the race for a reason but came really close and actually believed that he had actually won. >> thank you, sir. >> you said that one of nixon east most admirable traits were resilience. two great come baks after losing presidency in 1960 and after watergate, of course, how did he go about engineering the comebacks and why did the american people largely accept them? >> in 1 -- the first comeback which is patrick kennedy written the book called the greatest comeback, i would say that's true to come back from 1960 to ' 68. you can't believe the chaos that
americans had been in and what they wanted was some sort of resemblance of normalcy. thompson were writing, were writing on his behalf in the '68 campaign saying, here is the season steady hand that may be able to get us out of vietnam, so i think that his ability to present himself as a moderate, as an experienced man was what worked in 1960. i think that the second comeback, not terrible important, i don't think it will make much difference in history but he really did show some of himself, for example, in the nixon debates. if you've seen the movie or the play david frost dramatically
takes clip board and throws it on the floor, you to lay more of yourself bear otherwise you will never forget yourself, this is your opportunity and he has the great moment where he says, yeah, i gave them the sword and they stuck it in and twisted and i would have done the same thing myself, so he was never a man to be underestimated, had great raw political skills and like i said, the tremendous resilience. >> thank you for your question. >> sir. >> we just have time for a few more. >> a couple of questions. the day richard nixon died on april 22nd, '94, when did you hear the news about it? >> i don't remember. do you? >> i think i was home that evening. [laughter] >> i was surprised. i thought he might live on longer. >> i was wondering did you read any of his nine books? >> i read very closely his
memoir and i think it's one of the best presidential memoirs, rn, very big and thick, if everything he goes too much into watergate and goes in. he wrote another book later in life called in the arena which was sort of a secondary memoir where he got some digs in at enemies, but the one that i enjoyed, the two that i enjoyed the most, six crises which is what he wrote after the 1960 lost and another book about great leaders that he had met when he was president. i think it's just called leaders, if i remember correctly. so rn, six crises and leaders would be the three that i would recommend. >> thank you. >> thank you for your questions. six crises would be part of the first comeback, sir. >> i'm not sure how you discussed gerald ford, how would you compare and contrast gerald ford as richard nixon vp at a
time when everyone thought nixon would be leaving office versus mike pence, vp, while everybody wonders if donald trump is going to last, was ford on -- >> i cover the white house. i was a political reporter before i became a biographer. you have to feel for them. i don't think that ford was too allowed and orchestrating impeachment in the house.
so -- and in the last three or four weeks he distanced himself, did not fall on the sword with nixon. we are not at the same moment of time and drama. >> , yes, what do you think would have happened in the 1968 election if george wallace was not a factor, didn't run? >> i think that in the end the number of blue-collar votes that wallace took from rump -- humphrey than less than the number of votes that he took from nixon in the border states
and so if he had not run that would have meant that nixon would have taken those border states and humphrey ended uptaking the northern states anyway. probably nixon would have won no matter what. his message was not that different from wallace. >> the deep south stated for wallace. >> the south democratic was broken up already. >> the one chance -- >> yeah, yeah. the big threat to humphrey was big-collar workers, ohio, illinois, michigan were going to go to wallace and in the end they did not. >> i hate to have cut off the questions but we do have to give up the room as they say, thank you all, we want to thank the national book festival, library of congress and c-span. [applause] >> thank you to c-span for having us on tonight.
and thank you john farrell. [inaudible conversations] >> and that wraps book tv on c-span2 live coverage of 17th annual book festival from washington, d.c. now, everything you've seen today will air begin tonight at midnight eastern time or you can watch any time online ot booktv.org. [inaudible conversations] >> c-span, where history unfolds
dale -- daily n1979 c-span was created as public service by american's satellite companies and brought to you by your cable provider. >> the major city, the second largest city in the state of washington. it's a beautiful city, it has a river running through it. a lot of nice things going on, a lot of nice buildings, spokane was built by the mining district. it had the gold strike, the gold rush in 1883 and that led to silver strike and it was one of the largest-producing silver areas in the state of -- or in the united states. and a lot of the mansions and big buildings are all built from the mining. >> welcome to spokane,
washington. >> first up, the story of norwegian immigrant, in 1896 she an her daughter walked for seven months in an effort to win a thousand dollar prize as they tried to save her family's farm. >> forgotten american woman who did an amazing almost 4,000-mile walk across america in 1896 with her daughter in long victorian dresses on 10,000-dollar wager and the story was lost over a hundred years and silenced intentionally and yet no woman had ever done, amazing story, a woman with courage and determination to shape her family's destiny. the tl